Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Danger drivers face longer sentence

Motorists convicted of dangerous driving may face jail terms of up to five years if they cause injury to others

Dangerous drivers who cause serious injuries on the road could be jailed for up to five years under new plans, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said.

The introduction of a new offence of "causing serious injury by dangerous driving" would more than double the current maximum sentence of two years for dangerous drivers whose victims are seriously injured but not killed.

Campaigners welcomed the proposals, saying that, with 1,850 deaths on the roads in Britain last year alone, the move would "help to provide justice to families whose lives have been ripped apart by dangerous drivers".

Mr Clarke said: "We have listened to the victims of dangerous drivers, their families, MPs, judges and road safety groups and their experiences have directly informed these changes.

"Making our roads safer is a priority - five people died on our roads each day last year, so we need to do everything we can to further improve safety."

Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer of the road safety charity Brake, said: "This new offence finally means that serious injury is recognised within the title of the offence, and this recognition is vitally important to victims and their families.

"It also means that dangerous drivers who inflict serious injuries can expect to see higher sentences to better reflect the terrible trauma and injuries they have caused."

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said the changes, which will be part of the Government's Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, "should make sentences more proportionate to the devastation dangerous driving causes and should also deter people from driving badly".

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning added that while the vast majority of motorists were safe and responsible, "the wilfully reckless minority who put lives in danger must face serious penalties".

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